2015 has been a very difficult year for Google, and…oh, no, wait… Google’s market share in 2015 is globally still around 91% worldwide, and the king of search engines remains the front door of almost every search over the internet.
The SEO workers –Search Engine Optimization- are following every Google’s move to try to reach -and stay- at 1st rank on results page. But what will change in 2016? Will the secret recipes still be relevant? Let’s try some SEO predictions for 2016.
1. The rise of contextual SERP
SEO has always been about being the 1st on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page). It was first easy to check, because every results page looked the same, with only 10 classic results.
A few years ago, Google has been testing new ways of displaying the results, depending on your device, your location, and your question. That is called ‘universal search’. You can now have some pictures on the results page, YouTube videos, links to app, maps, Wikipedia quotes, news, etc.
Google’s goal is to be more accurate than ever, and we have now to work with contextual SERPs, depending on customer’s needs and actions. Understanding the user experience will be determinant.
Looking for a video? Let’s try to have the perfect video for you. Looking for recent information? Let’s try to publish some breaking news.And yes, voice search, connected TV and wearable devices are now part of this: new devices, mean new results page.
2.Mobile is the future (but it will not kill desktop though)
We hear about mobile killing desktop use, about having a “mobile first” strategy, but will this happen in 2016? Mobile use is increasing each year, and the most important thing is that it allows new uses (you should check the “micro-moments” theory about it). So yes, you should have a mobile friendly website, or Google will ban you. But moreover, you should check what mobile users are asking to Google about your firm. The timetable? Instant news? “How-to” guide? Link to your app?
We have new ways to gain users… or loose them.
And what about desktop usage? Even if mobile is really killing tablet usages, I think that mobile and desktop are 2 complementary devices that will stay there. Usage will fluctuate depending on the new devices that will enter the market (hardware & OS), and yes, mobile is important. But both mobile and desktop remain the main devices to work on.
We have been seeing it for several years, mobile is not really eating our desktop time usage, it’s some extra time: we spend more of our free time on mobile. So mobile is killing… our free time, not other devices’ usage.
So work on mobile, but don’t forget about desktop usage for SEO, it’s still there.
Usage in France. Source : Consumer Barometer
3.The return of long-form content
I am sorry about this, but there are so many articles over the internet, that a 350-word content is not a “deep article” anymore. Everybody does it, even for breaking news. To make a shift, we now have to write long-form articles. More contents will mean more traffic, more quotes, and so more people who spread the word.
If it’s well made and interesting, of course. So we cannot write about anything anymore, we have to do some researches, to investigate. We shall become experts before publishing a piece…but isn’t what Google wants? Top, epic content. So I think that’s what SEO will be about.
4.Tracking traffic is much more complicated
Google doesn’t like the fact that we work and experiment with its results, so they can’t help from making things harder.
Will ranking on 1st position still get me all the clicks? Not sure anymore. With universal search (images, ads, etc.), your organic clicks depend on the way the page is displayed. And it changes on every search.
Can I still see where my traffic comes from? Not all the time. Google now hides the keywords entered by our visitors, and there are also plenty of cases where your analytics can’t see where the traffic comes from (from images search, apps, Facebook, Snapchat, etc.). It’s called ‘dark traffic’.
How can I work on it? By making global actions… and digital marketing.
5.SEO will be merged with digital marketing
SEO has never been such a trending topic, but the outlines of this field have never been so blurred. Everyday, Google urges us to create more accurate content (no spam), to please our users (avoid bounce rate), to make them share our pages (backlinks & popularity).Thanks to its high requirements, Google has managed to transform the technical-geeky-discipline into… digital marketing.
We’re talking about content or SEO? PR or SEO? UX or SEO? SEO is about being seen and well understood, such as digital marketing. So don’t try to do “only SEO” this year. If you’re still doing SEO in 2016, you’re a marketer.